Funded! This project was successfully funded on July 2, 2012.

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Make cool stuff faster. Robotic Minion Start Kit is an Ardiuno Compatible with the basics built in. Get projects running in no time.

Artwork update

Ben Phipps has given us all a little gift of some robot artwork. If you pledge at the $75 level you may have your own message or artwork etched on the front panel. Ben has offered to let anyone who wishes have his artwork etched there at that reward level.

Robotic Minion Artwork by Ben Phipps
Robotic Minion Artwork by Ben Phipps

Enclosure update

The video shows a plastic enclosure and the rewards promise a plastic enclosure but we have decided to go with laser cut plywood as you can see in the (new) project photo.

The Back Story

Dustin: Well, plan #357 for world domination has failed.

David: I suspect our penchant for monologues is the culprit. What are we going to do with this stuff?

Dustin: I dunno about the eels, but the Robotic Minion Starter Kit (Arduino compatible) boards are pretty cool. Maybe we could put them on Kickstarter as open source hardware.

David: So we just put it out there to help other people get started?  People who actually have a shot at world domination? Nice.

The Pitch

Get your code out of your computer, off of your breadboard and into the real world where it can do your bidding.  The Robotic Minion Starter Kit helps you make cool stuff faster by providing a single-board solution with LCD, rotary encoder (think volume knob), and power regulator on the board, with software already written to do menu-driven user interfaces.  You can concentrate on solving the challenges unique to your problem.

What is the Robotic Minion Starter Kit?

The Robotic Minion Starter Kit is a small computer that includes an LCD, rotary encoder, and speaker, all housed in a plastic enclosure.  The kit gets people who are comfortable writing code a jumpstart on controlling hardware devices such as servo motors, LEDs, relays, etc, which in turn can control things like doors, lasers, cameras, music devices, remote control vehicles/robots, and just about anything else.  You can also interface with sensors the react to the environment such as GPS, proximity, temperature, acceleration, air pressure, or RFID.  It’s Arduino compatible which means you can leverage a large base of expertise and code that already exists.

What's Arduino?

Arduino is a hardware and software environment that allows Do It Yourself hobbyists to create devices that interact with the physical world in a variety of ways. Check out the Arduino Channel on Instructables for thousands of projects people have done. One personal favorite is the Chicken Coop Controller.

I already love Arduino, or you convinced me I want to get into it. Why get a Robotic Minion Starter Kit?

Arduino development boards like the Uno coupled with a bread board are great. You can prototype ideas quickly and figure out how to make your cool ideas work. However, you often end up with a great project that's difficult to deploy in the real world.

The Robotic Minion Starter Kit is rugged and versatile. It's got the basics many projects need already on board with code examples that work out of the box. 

Would you recommend this for my first Arduino compatible?

Yes, absolutely, this is great for beginners. You can play with the on board parts and display without buying any additional hardware other than a USB cable. If you are already a computer programmer you will be able to program this platform quickly to do interesting stuff.

What do you mean by "open source hardware"?

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

All the designs and are licensed with  the Creative Commons CC BY license. You aren't restricted in what you can do with the designs as long as you attribute the original creators.

Phillipe Torrone has a great article on what it means to do open source hardware. We strive to uphold these ideals. To that end, all the design files and detailed parts manifests are checked into GitHub so you can make your own at home or base a design off this one if you wish. We have posted detailed build instructions on Instructables as well with part numbers and everything you need to make your own if you so desire.

Project Details

Robotic Minion Starter Kit (Arduino Compatible) is an open source hardware collaboration by brothers Dustin Andrews and David Andrews. Robotic Minion has a USB port just like your development board. The Arduino IDE treats it just like an Arduino UNO. But it's not just an UNO clone. We added a bunch of goodies. Kickstarter's will get them at a discount and earlier Kickstarter backers can choose limited edition rewards at a lower cost. Hurry before the good rewards are gone.

Inside the box layout with a cardboard mockup of the latest board (9v not included)
Inside the box layout with a cardboard mockup of the latest board (9v not included)
  • Built in, tested 16x2 LCD screen
  • Rotary Encoder with switch for input (Left, Right and Click input)
  • Buzzer for alerts and really tinny sounding music.
  • Power LED
  • Digital Pin 13 LED
  • Built in USB port
  • Battery friendly Switching power regulator
  • Barrel connector for DC power (standard 5-12v wall adapters or 9v battery)
  • Enclosure
  • David Andrews' LCD Menu Software for Arduino for super easy menus
  • Timer/Clock/Stopwatch example code
  • 9 I/O pins, 2 analog input pins, ground, +5v and reset pins with spring connectors along left side.
  • Creative Commons CC-BY license
  • Package you can quickly program and add a few of your own electronics to easily make projects for your friends or even resell.
  • Based on the proven ExtraCore design.

Robotic Minion takes care of the basics and you can dig right in on your cool idea and code.

Completed Work

  • Several working prototypes
  • Electronic design is done and tested
  • Software library is released and tested
  • Components are chosen and sourced.
  • Rugged Circuits has agreed to manufacture the circuit boards. They are in the USA and did a great job on the ExtraCore so we have total confidence in them for this project.
  • Enclosure designed

Where does the money go?

  • 5%-10% pays Kickstarter and Amazon ($500)
  • ~70% will pay for parts, material, labor and shipping costs. ($3,500)
  • ~20% to defray the costs of prototypes, electrical engineering and programming. ($1,000)

If we go over the goal, further money will go towards making more Open Source hardware projects and future add-ons.

Who are you guys?

Some know us as "The Dangerous Andrews Brothers." When we aren't posing for wanted posters or doing our full time jobs, we invent stuff with hardware, software, cnc milling/routing and 3d printing. Dustin has 15 years in the IT industry as a programmer, system admin and software tester. He has written several featured Instructables and run a successful Arduino Compatible Kickstarter before. David was a professional software developer for about ten years before joining the legions of the undead. He still likes to program and invent.

FAQ

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    One Customized Robotic Minion. A built and tested board in a customized enclosure. Shipped anyplace in the USA. Add $10 for International. You send us a picture file or message and we will custom laser engrave it on your case. You may choose a plywood or clear acrylic case.

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Funding period

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